Do HIIT Workouts Build Muscle? (2023 In-Depth Answer)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become increasingly popular over the past few years due to its efficiency and effectiveness in burning fat and improving cardiovascular health. However, there is some debate around whether HIIT workouts are also effective at building muscle. In this article, we will explore the science behind HIIT workouts and muscle building to determine whether HIIT workouts can indeed help to build muscle.

What Does HIIT Mean?

First, it is important to understand what HIIT workouts are and how they work. HIIT workouts involve short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. For example, a typical HIIT workout might involve 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of walking, repeated for several rounds. The idea behind HIIT workouts is to push your body to its limits for short periods of time, forcing it to work harder and burn more calories than traditional steady-state cardio workouts.

How Do Muscles Get Built?

Now, when it comes to building muscle, there are two key factors to consider: mechanical tension and metabolic stress. Mechanical tension refers to the amount of force that is placed on the muscle during exercise, while metabolic stress refers to the buildup of metabolic waste products (such as lactic acid) that occurs during high-intensity exercise. Both of these factors are important for muscle growth, and they can both be achieved through HIIT workouts.

In terms of mechanical tension, HIIT workouts can be effective at building muscle because they often involve exercises that require the use of multiple muscle groups, such as sprints, burpees, or kettlebell swings. By using these compound exercises, you are able to place a significant amount of mechanical tension on your muscles, which can stimulate muscle growth.

In addition to mechanical tension, HIIT workouts can also create metabolic stress, which has been shown to be a key factor in muscle growth. When you perform high-intensity exercise, your body produces metabolic waste products, such as lactic acid, which can lead to a buildup of metabolic stress in your muscles. This metabolic stress can trigger the release of growth hormone, which is important for muscle growth.

Do HIIT Workouts Build Muscle?

So, the answer to the question of whether HIIT workouts build muscle is a resounding yes! However, it is important to note that while HIIT workouts can be effective at building muscle, they may not be the most efficient way to do so. If your primary goal is to build muscle, you may want to incorporate more traditional weightlifting exercises into your workout routine, as these exercises are specifically designed to create mechanical tension on the muscles.

The Final Stretch

In conclusion, HIIT workouts can be an effective way to build muscle, thanks to their ability to create both mechanical tension and metabolic stress. If you are looking to build muscle, it is worth incorporating HIIT workouts into your routine, but you may also want to consider adding in some traditional weightlifting exercises to maximize your results.

Back to blog